How are you doing at this point in the pandemic/recession? I’m enjoying more downtime. Planted a garden, making nourishing soups for cold days, connecting with a few friends, dancing on Zoom, doing the MELT Method to help my body recover from a low-back injury in October.
I have a hunch that a few people are thriving, most people are muddling through the “new normal” that may never really feel normal, and quite a few have been hit hard with losses of loved ones, jobs, homes, security. Bless.
Where are you?
I’m so grateful that during this pandemic, taking good precautions, I am able to work in my office one day a week (Tuesdays), offering private sessions.
I didn’t work for six months except for some long distance healing sessions and consultations over the phone or Zoom. I’ve been working now since mid-September, so nearly 5 months.
I work one day a week to minimize spreading COVID. I figure that if a client or I comes down with it, we’ll know within a week, and I at least won’t have exposed other clients before I figure that out.
It’s not perfect but it (and pre-screening, masks, my face shield, and air purifier) make it safer.
I taught a Self-Help for Jaw Pain course over Zoom last fall that I spent a lot of time developing, and I may offer it again when demand is sufficient. I had developed a busy clientele for TMJ Relief sessions, but COVID has made it unsafe to work in people’s mouths.
I’m considering offering private TMJ Relief sessions over Zoom, teaching people to do their own intra-oral work. It’s not hard. You just have to know where to touch. I’m not sure what the demand is for that, however.
The subtleties of doing craniosacral therapy require practice. The ability to sense subtle motions and patterns in a receiver’s body is developed through training and maintained and augmented through practice.
It took a few weeks to get my palpation skills back to my previous level. I appreciate everyone who has come in over the past few months for allowing me to deepen my abilities.
Since I’ve been working on my essay exam for getting certified by the Upledger Institute in craniosacral therapy techniques, I’ve developed more sensitivity and awareness of energetic and physiological processes.
I’ve come to appreciate even more the biodynamic branch of craniosacral therapy and sometimes integrate it into sessions, especially for repeat clients. I seem to be one of those people who learns how to “go by the book” and then experiments with integrating whatever is in my toolbox that my intuition tells me will help a receiver release something that no longer serves.
I’ve been receiving biodynamic sessions regularly from my officemate Christian Current. It’s whetting my desire for more training in the biodynamics field. I also had a great Upledger-style session from ou officemate Liz Baker that helped me release some dural tube restrictions after I injured my low back in October.
I recommend that people new to cranial work receive 3 sessions, because with bodywork this subtle, your innate healing processes strengthen with familiarity with the work and with me as a practitioner.
I offer a package of 3 sessions for $250 and a package of 6 for $500. This works out to $83.33 each. A single craniosacral session is $100, so you still save $20 from my regular session price.
If you’re feeling stale or stressed, craniosacral therapy can help restore your resilience. I’m interested in working with people who have had COVID and are suffering aftereffects.
Anyway, this is a little note to you to share what’s up with my practice and stay in touch. I’m available on Tuesdays. I have openings at noon, 1:30, 3, 4:30, and 6 pm. You can check my online scheduling page for availability. I would love to see you. I would love to hear from you.
If you were building a tower, and one of the floors wasn’t level, it would affect the floors above it — unless you somehow compensated.
The Leaning Tower of Pisa is kind of like that, only it’s because it settled unevenly on the ground beneath it. As they built it over the years, it would sink, stabilize, sink more…
The structure of the body is like that too — even when standing on level solid ground.
Because the jaw is near the top of the skeleton, imbalances below can affect the alignment and functionality of the temporomandibular joints (TMJs).
The primary cause of most jaw pain is asymmetrical hypertonicity. Thanks, TMJ Mastery teacher John Corry! That means that some of the muscles that affect the jaw are tighter than others.
I include a basic structural evaluation in my free TMJ consultations. It’s pretty cursory. I’m just looking for asymmetries. Here’s how I do it.
The patient stands with their shoes off.
I feel the space under theIr arches and check whether their feet (or one foot) are pronating or supinating.
Checking the points on the tops of the hip bones to see if they’re level comes next.
I ask about scoliosis and pelvic floor issues.
I check their shoulders to see if they’re level.
I look at the patient from each side to see if they have a pelvic tilt toward the front or the back and view their spinal curves.
When they are lying on my massage table, I can check for a leg length discrepancy with their legs flat, and then with knees bent. I can also see whether their feet point up symmetrically, which usually indicates asymmetry in the hip joints.
I also feel the space beneath the ears between the bones to see if it’s symmetrical.
When the skull and spine are out of alignment, it can contribute to multiple dysfunctions, with TMJ issues being one of them. (Ask me — I experienced intermittent right jaw clicking and my face drifting slightly to the left in meditation until my chiropractor realigned my AO joint, which also resolved issues that were all on my left side.)
For more on this, including exercises you can do starting at 5:25, watch this video.
The last part of my evaluation for symmetry is to place the pads of my fingers over the TMJs right in front of the ears and ask my client to open and close repeatedly.
Often one side moves first.
Often one side feels closer to the ear than the other.
Sometimes one side sticks out more than the other.
Try it on yourself. What do you notice?
None of this is super precise. I’m just getting a basic read on asymmetries in the structure of the patient that may affect the jaw.
Have you noticed that you have a dominant side? A side that feels stronger than the other? Most of your issues occurring on one side only?
Have you ever had a foot, ankle, leg, or hip injury? Can you still tell a difference between the injured side and the uninjured one? Can you balance easily on each foot?
How’s your posture? How about your sleep posture?
Also, do you primarily chew on one side of your mouth?
Becoming more symmetrical can be a good long-term project that can pay off with more ease of movement, less discomfort, better balance, injury prevention.
Symmetry is an ideal, like perfection. Most of us are doing the best we can. There’s always going to be some asymmetry in the body (our abdominal organs are asymmetric), but we can definitely address our most dysfunctional areas.
The functional movement screen is a set of 7 movements you do with a trainer, who scores you and can prescribe workouts that strengthen your weaknesses. FMS was developed to identify athletes who were prone to injury before they got injured. It can work for ordinary people too.
Practices of non-linear movement can help if done regularly over a long period. These movements work both sides of the body. They increase flexibility and balance and fluidity. And they are fun! Examples:
yoga, especially alignment-oriented types like Iyengar and Anusara
The type of bodywork that directly addresses asymmetries is called structural bodywork. There are two main schools of training: Rolfing Structural Integration and Anatomy Trains Structural Integration. Neuromuscular therapy also assesses posture and gait pattern and can address imbalances.
I’m staying safe, going out only for walks and groceries masked.
I hope and pray that you are well too.
Some updates, in lieu of a summer newsletter:
HeartMath is a great program that focuses on stress reduction. It’s been around for decades. You use a sensor that monitors your heart rate variability, which indicates how coherently (healthy) your body-mind system is functioning, which you can see on the companion Inner Balance app.
You can learn some simple techniques to increase coherence and reduce stress. With the sensor, you get accurate feedback so that with practice, you can learn the “sensory signature” of the state of coherence and induce it in yourself without the sensor when needed.
So… it’s like a brief meditation on the fly, switching from stressed to calm and together — who couldn’t use more of that?
Here’s more about it. If you’re interested, please call me at 512-507-4184. As a trainer, I can get you 25% off on a sensor and help you get started.
Once again, I’ve changed the name of my phone sessions/distance healing. I’m calling it Conversational Self-Healing, which more accurately reflects what happens and how it works.
I do ask you if you’d like me to place my “energy hands” around the area where you are experiencing some discomfort. I feel strong energy in my hands, and so far, every receiver has been able to discern a change in sensation in that area.
Mostly what we do is tune into your sensations, which are signals, and we listen to them deeply, which allows them to transform. This is how the body communicates and how we hold a conversation, between you and me, between you and your body, between my body and your body.
I’m working on creating a 5-class series, Self-Help for Jaw Pain, of online learning that I hope to have ready in September. It will be offered on Zoom.
Participants will learn life-long skills that will enable reducing current jaw pain and nipping it in the bud should it return. We’ll work on reducing co-factors that are common in those experiencing jaw pain. We’ll work on self-massage skills — on the shoulders, neck, and head, and inside the mouth.
The class will include a self-evaluation form and a private session with me on Zoom.
This first round will be small (8 people max) and discounted (still working on pricing), since online teaching is new to me.
If you have any interest, please get in touch. I’ll post more here as I progress.
Working on creating something new is very satisfying. I would not have done this if it weren’t for COVID. Teaching brings the possibility of reaching many more people with jaw issues who don’t live in this area, and I can share what I’ve learned since I began learning to work in the mouth in 2013.
I offer free 15-minute phone consultations that you can schedule here, and I call you at the appointed time. We can talk about anything. Bring your questions!
Other interesting things I’ve found to do while staying in more than ever. Get in touch if you’re interested in joining in.
I’ve been doing ecstatic dance on Zoom with Tribal Joy, Essential Soul Sessions, Source in Motion, and Step into Yes! (the latter for women only).
I’ve been doing Gyrokinesis on Zoom.
I’ve been doing yoga on Zoom.
I enjoyed the poet David Whyte’s recent online series. He’s offering another one in September.
I have gotten hooked on watching a British detective series starring Brenda Blethyn. It’s called Vera. There are 10 seasons, so lots to binge, although I just do one episode a day.
What are you up to? What inspires and entertains you?
When I started doing distance sessions at the beginning of the COVID lockdown in March, I would feel energy pouring out of my hands just as I would when doing bodywork with someone in my office, even though the receivers were now at a distance, sometimes in other states.
I didn’t know what to do with it at first with no body in front of me, but I definitely understood it was an indication of me being in a resourced state for healing.
In the 27-hour intensive course I just completed in Long Distance Healing, the instructors called this phenomenon “energy hands”.
It’s fairly common for bodyworkers to experience this energy flowing out their hands, especially when the type of bodywork they practice includes deep listening with their hands, as do craniosacral therapy and Reiki, or if they are also trained in some types of yoga or meditation that cultivate this kind of awareness.
(By the way, distance healing is not craniosacral therapy, which always includes physical touch, but some craniosacral skills transfer over to distance healing.)
With my distance receivers, I started placing my energized hands on the area of the body the receiver had identified as wanting attention. Usually these identified areas are experiencing some form of disconnect from the healthier parts of the body.
Receivers would begin to feel sensations of change in that area: for example, the area would change shape, color, or temperature, pain would lessen or disappear, tension would soften, and sensations would become more diffuse, possibly move to another area, or even bounce around (“Hey, you’re finally looking at me! Yippee!”).
Although our bodies are constantly healing themselves below our level of awareness, in these sessions, receivers sense the healing as it occurs.
To be clear, I don’t heal you. Your own cellular intelligence is the healing power. I show up for you in a resourced state (built on years of yoga, meditation, and studies in how healing works), which your system can entrain to. I show up with presence, curiosity, and some suggestions, as an ally and a witness, with an intent (shared with you) for healing to take place, but no agenda about how that will happen, because it’s your body, your history, your awareness, and your healing.
I have not yet worked with anyone who did not experience a change for the better. I’ve worked with people trying their first energy healing session after Western medicine was unable to help, and I’ve worked with people who are deeply experienced in their own somatic awareness.
We practiced with partners during the training, placing energy hands on our partner’s shoulders and having them say when they felt them and whether they wanted the touch to be more intense or diffuse, and then disconnecting and switching partners.
We also did this with the adrenals, which pump adrenaline and cortisol into our systems, since most of us are feeling some stress and anxiety because of COVID, the economy, our culture, the future, etc.
When my partner held my adrenals, after about a minute, I felt my autonomic nervous system down-regulate into a deeper parasympathetic (rest and digest) state.
That’s another benefit of working with energy hands. I can put my energy hands inside your body, not just on the skin.
I want to do more distance healing sessions. These sessions are collaborative, empowering, use a lot of dialogue, and are based on consent. I cannot do anything to you that you do not allow.
If you’re wondering what it’s about and would like to try it, I’m offering sessions on a donation basis for a limited time. Look at what it’s worth to you, what you can afford, and donate accordingly.
After half an hour, if you don’t think it’s doing anything for you, we’ll end the session without your donation.